Question:My daughter is almost 14. She is always angry at me. She refuses to discuss anything with me, she sits in the back seat of the car, she actually hates me. The only time she will talk to me is when she wants something, then when she gets it she gives me the silent treatment and ignores me again. She won't even look me in the face. This has been going on for about a year and has gotten worse in the last 6 months. I've tried counseling, but she refused to go after 3 visits. HELP!
Thank you for contacting us. I can imagine that this must be extremely difficult for you. Anger is such a confusing emotion. Often the person who is angry doesn't really understand the full scope of his or her emotions and anger is the easiest to display, unfortunately often with disastrous results. And, the people most often hurt by the one who is angry are the ones who love that person the most. It's our human nature to strike out against those closest to us instead of reaching out to receive help from the very ones who can give it. I'm not sure I'll ever understand that.
I'm glad to hear you have sought counseling in the past. Even if your daughter refuses to go, I would encourage you to continue. Your counselor will be able to help give you tools for dealing with your situation and helping you stay sane and in control in the process.
In general, your daughter is expressing emotion to you in the only way she feels able to, that is, with anger. Anger is likely not the primary emotion but is instead the symptom of what is really going on inside of her.
I would encourage you to consider some of the following:
1. Can you pinpoint a beginning to this behavior (i.e. transitioning schools, moving, family upset, death, onset of puberty)
2. What emotions surrounded that event and how was it dealt with in days & months to follow?
3. Is she really only angry with you or is this her demeanor with everyone?
4. When and with who is she amicable?
5. Do you always give in when she wants something/is she using anger to get her own way.
These are just some things to consider. If your relationship does not show improvement soon, please consider restarting counseling or even seeing your family doctor. There may be more happening than can be seen.
May God give you guidance as you seek to restore this relationship.